In and Around the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart

If nothing else, the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart is a looker. While it's hard not to feel a little bit of fatigue at all the designs essentially aping the MacBook Pro aesthetic, at least HP is doing it right with the Spectre XT TouchSmart. This is a good-looking, well built ultrabook.

The majority of the Spectre XT's shell is comprised of sturdy brushed aluminum, with the HP logo tastefully etched into the lower corner of the lid. The interior surfaces are brushed aluminum as well, excluding the display and bezel, and the bottom of the shell enjoys a soft touch coating that I think is actually a better choice than simply wrapping the whole thing in garden variety brushed aluminum.

On the interior of the notebook, there's a glossy edge-to-edge finish for the touchscreen display. Under the hinge is the first pair of speakers, with the second set hiding on the edges of the underside of the notebook. The keyboard is HP's traditional chiclet style layout and white LED backlit; they've eschewed the 10-key, but I've been told 10-key is going to be coming back in the next product cycle for notebooks in this size class. Typing action is pretty good, but it's about time for HP to retire or revise this design.

Meanwhile, I've become a pretty big believer in glass touchpad surfaces. Toshiba's Kirabook sports one, and the ones HP has been using on their higher end consumer notebooks and in their EliteBooks are frankly stellar. While I still don't care for clickpads, we're at least finally getting to the point where they make sense. Windows 8's edge gestures make a solid case for them, and HP's implementation here is a sound one.

Unfortunately, the Spectre XT TouchSmart comes a bit loaded with bloatware like a relic from a bygone era. Including PowerDVD is pointless on a notebook that has no optical drive, and WildTangent has been infecting HP hardware for too long. The touch experience is fine, but the system as a whole isn't that snappy, and you can feel the difference between a mechanical hard disk with SSD caching and a true SSD storage solution. As is becoming an unpleasant tradition with the ultrabook movement and the need for thinner, lighter form factors, the Spectre XT is not user serviceable; you're stuck with the configuration you buy.

Introducing the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart System Performance
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  • Silma - Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - link

    While writing reviews of products that aren't even available on the market and different from what the Customer will purchase is borderline dishonest, reviews that are published many months after product availability are frankly of very limited interest.

    The pros and cons of the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart or the Thinkpad Carbon have already been exhaustively enumerated for monthes in other publications.
  • grave00 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    Bean counter. More like top level management. Same people that always wreck the company.
  • PatriciaBau42 - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    until I saw the check 4 $7083, I did not believe that my cousin could truley bringing home money part-time on there computar.. there brothers friend had bean doing this for less than 12 months and a short time ago cleared the morgage on there apartment and bought a top of the range audi. I went here, Exit35.comTAKE A LOOK
  • Hrel - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    Thunderbolt?! Fuck that! I don't wanna pay for that stupid licensing fee. Get rid of it.

    Also I agree about the cache, anything over 1k should have 200+GB dedicated SSD either through mSATA or SATA. Though I'd prefer mSATA so I can have normal hdd for storage.

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